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SIMS 213: User Interface Design & Development
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  1. SIMS 213: User Interface Design & Development Marti Hearst Tues, Feb 18, 2003

  2. Cooper on error dialog boxes • Why are they problematic? • How related to locus of attention? • What are the alternatives? • Cooper is talking to programmers • “Silicon Sanctimony” • You should feel as guilty as for using a goto – an admission of failure in design

  3. Umm, thanks for the warning, but what should I do? What happens when you cancel a cancelled operation? Do I have any choice in this? Uhhh… I give up on this one

  4. Inane Dialog Boxes

  5. “HIT ANY KEY TO CONTINUE” Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  6. Design Principles and Process

  7. Designing the Interface How to do the design itself? • Do your task analysis • Identify the important tasks and their steps • Use personas to identify the important ones • Use card sorting to help organize the tasks • Use scenarios to give order to the task sequences • Organize these into several different designs • Get the main interactions sketched out • Make sketches, or • Use a tool, such as a flow chart • An example: http://www.jjg.net/ia/visvocab/ • Use design guidelines to help make decisions • Create low-fi prototypes to quickly assess the different designs

  8. Design Guidelines • There are LOTS of them • Based on common sense and experience • Not necessarily proven • Often conflict with one another • Often don’t say HOW to implement them • What do to: • Focus on those guidelines most applicable to the kind of interface under development • Focus on those emphasized in our readings • Bloopers, chapter 1 • Usability Engineering, chapter 5 • Raskin, chapter 3 • All of Don Norman’s concerns • Use common sense

  9. All-Star Usability Design Guidelines An edited selection

  10. 1 Simple and natural dialogue • Use the user’s conceptual model • Match the users’ task in as natural a way as possible • minimize mapping between interface and task semantics Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  11. 1 Simple and natural dialogue • Present exactly the information the user needs • less is more • less to learn, to get wrong, to distract... • information should appear in natural order • related information is graphically clustered • order of accessing information matches user’s expectations • remove or hide irrelevant or rarely needed information • competes with important information on screen • use windows frugally • don’t make navigation and window management excessively complex

  12. Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  13. 2 Speak the users’ language • Examples? Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  14. 3 Minimize user’s memory load • Computers good at remembering things, people aren’t! • Promote recognition over recall • menus, icons, choice dialog boxes vs command lines, field formats • relies on visibility of objects to the user (but less is more!) Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  15. 3 Minimize user’s memory load Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  16. 3: Minimize user’s memory load • Describe required input format and example, and default • Small number of rules applied universally • generic commands • same command can be applied to all interface objects • copy, cut, paste, drag ’n drop, ... for characters, words, paragraphs, circles, files Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  17. 3: Minimize user’s memory load Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  18. 4: Be consistent • Consistency of effects • same words, commands, actions will always have the same effect in equivalent situations • Consistency of language and graphics • same information/controls in same location on all screens / dialog boxes • same visual appearance across the system (e.g. widgets) • e.g. different scroll bars in a single window system! • Consistency of input • consistent syntax across complete system Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  19. 4. Be Consistent These are labels with a raised appearance. Is it any surprise that people try and click on them? Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  20. > Doit > Doit This will take5 minutes... 5: Provide feedback • Continuously inform the user about • what it is doing • how it is interpreting the user’s input • user should always be aware of what is going on Time for coffee. What’s it doing? Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  21. 5. Provide feedback • Should be as specific as possible, based on user’s input • Best within the context of the action Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  22. 5. Provide feedback What mode am I in now? What did I select? How is the system interpreting my actions? Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  23. Provide feedback Multiple files being copied, but feedback is file by file. Drawing Board LT Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  24. 5. Provide feedback • Response time • how users perceive delays 0.1 second max: perceived as “instantaneous” 1 seconds max: user’s flow of thought stays uninterrupted, but delay noticed 10 seconds: limit for keeping user’s attention focused on the dialog > 10 seconds: user will want to perform other tasks while waiting Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  25. 6. Provide clearly marked exits How do I get out of this? Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  26. 6. Provide clearly marked exits • Users don’t like to feel trapped by the computer! • should offer an easy way out of as many situations as possible • Strategies: • Cancel button (for dialogs waiting for user input) • Universal Undo (can get back to previous state) • Interrupt (especially for lengthy operations) • Quit (for leaving the program at any time) • Defaults (for restoring a property sheet) Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  27. 7. Provide shortcuts • Experienced users should be able to perform frequently used operations quickly • Strategies: • keyboard and mouse accelerators • abbreviations • command completion • menu shortcuts • function keys • double clicking vs menu selection • type-ahead (entering input before the system is ready for it) navigation jumps • e.g., going to location directly, and avoiding intermediate nodes • history systems • WWW: ~60% of pages are revisits Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  28. Keyboard accelerators for menus Customizable toolbars andpalettes for frequent actions Split menu, with recently used fonts on top Double-click raises toolbar dialog box Double-click raises object-specific menu Scrolling controls for page-sized increments

  29. 8:Deal with errors in a positive and helpful manner • People will make errors! • Errors we make • Mistakes • arise from conscious deliberations that lead to an error instead of the correct solution • Slips • unconscious behaviour that gets misdirected en route to satisfying goal • e.g. drive to store, end up in the office • shows up frequently in skilled behaviour • usually due to inattention • often arises from similarities of actions Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  30. Designing for slips • General rules • Prevent errors before they occur • Detect and correct errors when they do occur • User correction through feedback and undo • Examples • mode errors • have as few modes as possible (preferably none) • make modes highly visible • capture errors • instead of confirmation, make actions undoable • allows reconsideration of action by user • loss of activation • if system knows goal, make it explicit • if not, allow person to see path taken • description errors • in icon-based interfaces, make sure icons are not too similar, • check for reasonable input, etc. Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  31. 8 Deal with errors in a positive and helpful manner • Prevent errors • try to make errors impossible • modern widgets: only “legal commands” selected, or “legal data” entered • Provide reasonableness checks on input data • on entering order for office supplies • 5000 pencils is an unusually large order. Do you really want to order that many? Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  32. Volume 37: A user's guide to... 9. Provide help • Help is not a replacement for bad design! • Simple systems: • walk up and use; minimal instructions • Most other systems: • feature rich • some users will want to become “experts” rather than “casual” users • intermediate users need reminding, plus a learning path Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  33. Types of help • Tutorial and/or getting started manuals • short guides that people are likely to read when first obtaining their systems • encourages exploration and getting to know the system • tries to get conceptual material across and essential syntax • on-line “tours”, exercises, and demos • demonstrates very basic principles through working examples Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  34. Types of help • Reference manuals • used mostly for detailed lookup by experts • on-line hypertext • search / find • table of contents • index • cross-index Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  35. Types of help • Reminders • short reference cards • expert user who just wants to check facts • novice who wants to get overview of system’s capabilities • keyboard templates • shortcuts/syntactic meanings of keys; recognition vs. recall; capabilities • tooltips • text over graphical items indicates their meaning or purpose Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  36. Types of help • Context-sensitive help • system provides help on the interface component the user is currently working with • Tool tips • Macintosh “balloon help” • Microsoft “What’s this” help • brief help explaining whatever the user is pointing at on the screen Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  37. Types of help • Wizards • walks user through typical tasks • but problematic if user gets stuck Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  38. Types of help • Tips • migration path to learning system features • also context-specific tips on being more efficient • must be “smart”, otherwise boring and tedious Slide adapted from Saul Greenberg

  39. Summary • Design is a creative process, with many options • Your design should reflect • The results of the interviews, task analysis • Existing conventions when applicable • Design guidelines when applicable • Usability testing helps you decide which of several options to pursue